Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Designer vs. Decorator

You're probably thinking to yourself “what is the difference between an Interior Designer and an Interior Decorator??" It's all about the qualifications. When I think of a Designer, I think of someone who is fully rounded and educated when it comes to all aspects of design (sustainability, maintenance, accessibility, programming needs, reflected ceiling plans, etc.). A decorator on the other hand, I find are the people who don't have the education and background, but take up decorating more as a hobby. Any person can call themselves an Interior Decorator, but only those who qualify (have a four year degree, years of experience, and passed the licensing exam) can call themselves Interior Designers.
Step 1: Education
To become a licensed Interior Designer in the state of Virginia, you must graduate from a four year accredited degree programs. The Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) "assures the public that interior design education prepares students to be responsible, well-informed, skilled professionals who make beautiful, safe, and comfortable spaces that also respect the earth and its resources." CIDA sets the standard for these accredited institutions.
Step 2: Experience
After graduation, you must obtain at least two years of formal training with in the Interior Design Field.
Step 3: Examination
After four years of education and two years of experience, you are eligible to take the licensing exam. The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) administers the exam. If you pass the exam, by law, you can call yourself an Interior Designer. This means you have acquired the standard knowledge of what it entails to be an Interior Designer. 
This is the NCIDQ's view on the difference between Interior Design and Decorating:
 Many people use the terms "interior design" and "interior decorating" interchangeably, but these professions differ in critical ways.

Interior design is the art and science of understanding people's behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things. In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design.

Interior designers apply creative and technical solutions within a structure that are functional, attractive and beneficial to the occupants' quality of life and culture. Designs respond to and coordinate with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project. Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability.

The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology—including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process—to satisfy the needs and resources of the client.

Many U.S. states and Canadian provinces have passed laws requiring interior designers to be licensed or registered—documenting their formal education and training—and many of them specifically require that all practicing interior designers earn the NCIDQ Certificate to demonstrate their experience and qualifications. By contrast, interior decorators require no formal training or licensure.

Trisha Wilson

Trisha Wilson and the Firm
Trisha Wilson is the CEO and President of the internationally acclaimed design firm Wilson Associates. As one of the most successful interior-architectural design firms in the world, their client list includes over twenty of the world's top 100 billionaires (Wilson Associates). Her firm, established in 1971, has designed over "one million guestrooms in thousands of hotels worldwide" (Wilson Associates). "The firm's brand was built around creating interiors for hotels, restaurants, clubs, casinos, and high end residential properties" (Wilson Associates). The luxurious and elegant commercial design work of Wilson Associates, as well as their ability to design to the market, has landed them one of the top hospitality firms in the world. They create "custom interiors for each client" by listening to what the client wants, as well as learning about that country's culture and surroundings.

Wilson graduated from the University Of Texas School Of Architecture with a degree in Interior Design. After graduation, she worked at a department store selling mattresses. Then she worked for Dallas architect Harry Hover designing church glass stained windows (Evans).
In 1997 she established The Wilson Foundation, which is dedicated to addressing the needs of disadvantaged and underserved children in South Africa. She focuses on the Limpopo Province, a rural area devastated by "extreme poverty, unemployment, substandard education, and an HIV/AIDS pandemic" (Wilson Associates). The foundation has given over $3.5 million to this community to support healthcare, education, and youth development.

Photography courtesy of Wilson Associates

Be sure to check out the full portfolio of Wilson Associates and this brief video of Trisha's latest achievement!

Cited Work:
Evans, Mary. "The Amazing Rise of Trisha Wilson’s Interior-Architectural-Design Firm." dmagazine. D Magazine Partners, 13 Feburary 2008. Web.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

It's about Beauty, Inspiration, and Creativity.

I think there is a lot of money in the Interior Design industry. Heavy weights such as HGTV (Home and Garden Television), IKEA, and even Lowes and Home Depot, are dedicated to inspiring us and helping us with our home improvement wants and needs. When I travel, I find myself always wishing that I could live in a place that looks just like the nice hotels I would stay in. These heavy weights give me hope. With a vision, a little help, and hard work, any space can be transformed into a masterpiece.
Beautiful Master Bathroom from HGTV.
HGTV is a great source to help any person get inspired. Along with their television shows, you can also go onto their website and browse by room, style, or color, to get a little inspiration. They have sections dedicated to gardening tips, do-it-yourself projects; you can browse through photos, or even get up to date with episodes on the tube that you missed the night before. It has a little bit for everyone, and that’s why I love it.

I actually used to love the show “Clean House” on the style network. For those who haven’t seen it, it is a home makeover show. The house would show up at a family’s home with a clean-up crew and a renovation crew and get to work.  The clean-up crew would unclutter the home, host a yard sale, and then use the money to give the family their dream home. The show was just so inspiring to me. NO matter how much of a wreck your home may be or how cluttered it is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Interior Design fascinates me because it’s all about beauty and creativity. Turning something ordinary into something extraordinary is magical to me. It’s the same feeling you get when you see a woman go from “plain Jane” to a sassy sophisticated lady.  Her confidence skyrockets, and to see that kind of change in a person is life changing and gratifying. It’s funny how a fresh coat of paint or a new centerpiece on your dining room table can transform a space. Let your imagination run wild. Get creative, get inspired, and have fun. Happy Decorating!

Ps. YouTube is also a fabulous source for DIY home improvement projects! Check out these videos!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Psychology of Color

Color, as mentioned in my earlier blog post (Making Theory a Reality), is the most emotional element of design. There are so many different colors, shades, and intensities. The paint color chosen for a room is the foundation, followed by the d├ęcor you want to place in the space. Color schemes can be read in many different ways. Colors have the power to make us feel various ways. For example, a bright yellow will make me feel cheerful, or lavender purple will make me feel relaxed.  I realize that there are so many choices to choose from when it comes to paint, but if you can identify what mood you want to portray or what feeling you want that room to have, it will make your decision a bit easier.
“Color Scheme (Noun):
An arrangement or pattern of colors or colored objects conceived of as forming an integrated whole: the color scheme of a living room.” –Dictonary.com 
There are many different types of color schemes. The picture below shows a monochromatic room, the predominant color being purple. There are splashes of white here and there, but whites, browns, blacks, and greys are not considered to be colors.  

According to HGTV, if the color scheme in the room is right, it will enhance your feelings of health and wellbeing, make your space feel larger or cozier and intimate, and it will illuminate dark areas and energize static areas. The right color depends on the person. The psychology of color is a big trend right now. When choosing a color, you must consider these questions:

          "1. Where is the room?
           2. How many windows are there and which direction do they face?
           3. Is there landscaping outside that will have an effect on the colors in the room?
           4. Who will use the room, and what will they do there? Is it private or community space?
           5. Will it be a sociable and active place, or a peaceful place? How do I want it to feel?" -HGTV

You can also make color schemes with just primary colors (red, yellow, blue), secondary colors (orange, purple, green), complementary colors (yellow and purple), or even just warm colors (red, orange, yellow). With all the colors and intensity variations, the possibilities are endless.

I absolutely love this blog because it talks about the color wheel, color theory, and breaks down the various color schemes. If you are interested in learning more about color schemes or are redecoration and trying to come up with a color scheme, check this blog out! The author even provides pictures of color wheels to help identify which scheme she is talking about. Also, I found this neat tool online that can further help you decide on a color scheme. Happy decorating!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

GO Green GO!

Sustainability is an important topic in the world, but also to interior designers. A designer needs to be informed on this topic to better serve their client. Not only does a designer want to give a client their dream home or space, but the design also has to be “green”, meaning it has to be useful and serve a purpose. In the words of the US Environmental Protection Agency,
“Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.  Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations. Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have, the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.”
As a designer, we look for substitutions that will be sustainable. Notice when you use a public restroom. Many places have gotten rid of the paper towel dispensers and have converted to the hand dryers. That wasn’t just for style, or because it was cool and technology savvy, but to serve a greater purpose. They were created to cut down the use of paper needed to be used just for drying our hands. The more paper we use, the more trees that need to be cut down to supply that paper. This is an effort to protect our environment.
Solar panels on top of roof coverting sunlight into electricity.

“Sustainable design principles include minimizing non-renewable energy, using environmentally preferable products, protecting and conserving water, enhancing indoor environmental quality, and optimizing operational and maintenance practices.” –US General Services Administration
There are many acts and organizations that strive for sustainability, including the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, Executive Order 13514, and the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (“a green building certification system as a tool for evaluating and measuring achievements in sustainable design”) also known as LEED.
Windmills used to convert wind into other sources of power.

There are also many things we can do as individuals to “go green”, such as recycling, reducing the amount of water and electricity we generate, and not driving our cars if possible to reduce air pollutants, just to name a few. Also, we can reuse or donate items that are still useful. The items that go to the dump just get incinerated, and all of that smoke and pollution goes into the air we breathe. It’s something to think about next time you are waiting for a friend in the car with it running, or letting the water run when you’re brushing your teeth. Check out these short podcast that can help us make our world a better place. Enjoy!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Interiors Inside Out

Today I will be analyzing a room from head to toe using the terms we have discussed in the past couple weeks. I will break the room into bits, incorporating the principles and elements of design, to explain what is going on in this space. Art is what you feel from it. It's what you read in a piece, and this is my opinion about this space. Not just what I like and what I don't like, but a more in-depth analyze on why I think the space works.

I found this kitchen on Denise McGaha Interiors company site. This company provides luxurious interiors and on the site you can find a gallery of their work, testimonials, magazines they have been featured in, and so much more. You should check the site out sometime. They do some beautiful work. Today I will give you a little taste of what they can deliver as designers.

The simplicity of this kitchen gives it elegance. I love bold colors, and in this space the designer puts an emphasis on the oven by using the color yellow (Elements of Design). The brightness of the yellow and the dullness of the cabinetry, walls, and appliances create a beautiful contrast. Your eye moves around the kitchen and ends up on the oven. I also like how the designer puts a splash of yellow here and there so the yellow oven doesn't look out of place. The back splash also caught my eye. It brings everything together, giving this kitchen a great sense of harmony (Principles of Design). The designer used an interesting pattern, combining different shades of yellows and blues. The pattern almost looks as if it could be touched, creating visual texture. The designer uses a combination of light sources to brighten up this space. As you can see, there are pendent lights providing artificial light over the island, lighting under the upper cabinets, and looking at various highlights around the kitchen, I can tell there is a window allowing natural light in as well. From what I can see, there is a balanced amount of negative and positive space. There are no spots of the room that look empty, yet there are none that look too "busy". It seems like everything has a place.

I enjoy how the designer brings a little nature into the space like my inspiration Frank Lloyd Wright did in many of his works. You see flowers, potted plants, and vegetables on the counters and island. Even the use of yellow reminds me of the outdoors (the warm yellow sun). Like I said, I like the color scheme of this kitchen. The bright yellow gives me a sense of joyfulness. It is very welcoming and cheerful. I'd enjoy spending time in this kitchen. And the distribution of color is also on point. The neutrality of the grey tones the brightness of the yellow down, and the blue accents in the back splash provide a great little accent to the space.

There's no Architecture without the letters A-R-T.

American architect Frank Lloyd Wright is one of my inspirations to become an interior designer. The way he turned architecture into art work was revolutionary. Wright lived to be 91 years old, and throughout his life he had designed over 1,100 buildings, residential and commercial. Last semester, my professor had us go to the Pope-Leighey House (located in Mount Vernon) and write a five page paper on it. I wondered how I would write a five page paper on a house, but when I got there, I realized how easy it would be to write this paper. The house was beautiful, yet unique. I had never seen a home like this. He was known for his “organic architecture” ("Biography."). Wright loved the outdoors and felt that we should be connected with nature. The Pope-Leighey home was built out of wood, and there were many full-length window and clerestory windows that let in an abundance of natural light and also served as ventilation. The space was also very small, only 1,200 square feet, but he made the space appear larger through many tricks. The many windows connecting us with the outside made the space feel open. The ceiling was very low, but he used compression and release to make the rooms feel bigger. The hallways would be very low and narrow, but then the room you enter would open up because it’s not as narrow and the ceiling isn’t as low as in the hallway. I could talk about the Pope-Leighey house for days, but to see it in person is an amazing experience. 

    Picture of the Pope-Leighey House in Alexandria, VA. Plan a visit sometime!
Frank Lloyd Wright was known for his “organic architecture” as well as his concept of the “Usonian” style home. He believed that everyone deserved to live in a nice home, regardless of income. He was very resourceful when it came to building homes. He used locally available materials and unpainted/unstained wood to cut down on the cost to build homes ("Biography."). He also was known for solar hearing, natural cooling, and carports. Many of his residential homes were secluded in rural areas to give the family living there a sense of security. 

Wright used many of the principles and elements of design to achieve his great works. He made it a point for his creations to harmonize with the outdoors. He put a great emphasis of his love of nature with his large windows that allotted an abundance of natural light. Wright also used lines to create different illusions. The Pope-Leighey House is a great example of that. His use of horizontal lines made the home appear larger than what it is. He also emphasized the beauty in nature with the natural unstained wood. You can see this theme throughout many of his works.

Wright’s “Prairie School” style was also very popular. A good example of this style would be the Pope-Leighey house. It was a single story home with “low pitched roofs and low rows of casement windows” ("Biography."). He always made it a point to emphasis the beauty in nature. Other celebrated works of his include, but aren’t limited to, “Taliesin Fellowship”, “Fallingwaters Residence”, and the “Guggenheim Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art”.  


Winslow House in River Forest, Illinois (1893). Wright's first example of his "organic architecture style using "horizontal emphasis and expansion and open interior space".  Picture from here.                                                      

Taliensin Fellowship in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Picture from here.


 Fallingwaters in rural Southwestern PA; exterior and interior (1935). Constructed on top of a waterfall. Picture from here.

You can see harmony in this interior. The color scheme is very neutral. Again, Wright emphasizes his love of nature. Notice the pile of wood laying off to the side, as well as the fire place, brick wall, the rocks embedded in the floor, etc. You also can see various forms, like the cubes and the shere, and he also creates a balance on the shelf with the two cubes. This space makes me feel like I'm in a fancy log cabin. It gives me a sense of serenity and peace.


  Guggenheim Museum in NYC. Last work of Wright before his death in 1959. Picture from here.

Work Cited:
"Frank Lloyd Wright." Biography. A E Networks, n.d. Web. 31 Jan 2013. <http://www.biography.com/people/frank-lloyd-wright-9537511?page=3>.